Technetium-99m (99mTc), a radioisotope used in up to 40 million diagnostic procedures each year, is traditionally obtained via the decay of molybdenum-99 (99Mo), which is produced in a small number of ageing nuclear reactors. The fragility of this supply line has prompted the investigation of alternative manufacturing methods, such as direct production of 99mTc by bombarding a 100Mo target with protons from a medical cyclotron.
This cyclotron-based approach could help solve the supply shortage. However, even when using highly enriched 100Mo targets, remaining traces of other stable Mo isotopes will result in the creation of Tc radioisotopes other than 99mTc. Injecting radiopharmaceuticals containing such impurities may lead to increased patient dose. Read more.